Cuppa with the PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, pictured reading last week’s Chronicle, was in Smithton ahead of this weekend’s Braddon by-election, joined by Candidate for Braddon Brett Whiteley.

Meeting. On Friday, the Chronicle sat down with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to talk about his visit to Circular Head. Starting his morning by climbing the Stanley Nut, the PM made his way to Smithton to meet with the Chronicle’s Janelle McGowan. Taking some time out at Time Out on Emmett, the PM sat down to his curried scallop pie and a pot of tea, ready to answer a few questions. He was joined by Candidate for Braddon Brett Whiteley.

Welcome Prime Minister. What brings you to Circular Head?

I’m here campaigning with Brett, but also we’re going to make an announcement today as part of our $3.9 million jobs package, to train up another 150 people with skills in agriculture – dairy in particular. [We’re] identifying and getting feedback from the agriculture sector here as to where the skills shortages are, and working with and providing support to TAFE to make sure people are getting the training and skills they need [for the jobs] that are in demand.

What are your first impressions of our region?

It’s wonderful. It’s the first time I’ve been to  Smithton, first time to the Nut, first time I’ve been to the west coast.

I’ve been to Launceston, Burnie and Devonport many times in the past but to really get up to this part of the state and down to the west coast has been fantastic.

What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing Tasmania, and in particular this north west region?

It’s a beautiful part of the world with so much potential – the combination of the freshest produce in the world and the enormous renewable energy resource here. The big, huge opportunities of wind energy, Hydro Tasmania, the Battery of the Nation plan that we’re working on.

I think this is a place of enormous opportunity but it needs a voice in government and that’s what Brett can deliver, he’s the only candidate that can actually get things done in this by-election.

Tell us something we don’t know about the Prime Minister . . .

I’m not sure, I’m a pretty open book really.

Sat next to a great fellow beef farmer last night, Lucy and I are in the cattle business in New South Wales but I guess lots of people know that. But mind you, I wish we had the lovely rain that you’re getting here – we’re gripped by a terrible drought.

Can I throw in a couple of questions from my kids?

Yeah, of course you can.

Marlea, 11 would like to know if you have any pets?

We don’t anymore, our dogs are no longer with us, we’ve had lots of dogs in the past, sadly we don’t have any at the moment. When one of our little dogs died a while back, I wrote an ode to a dead dog. (To read this, visit

Levi, 8, wants to know the last movie you watched?

Hmm, what was the last movie I watched . . . the last movie I saw was actually Peter Rabbit, with my grandchildren. Did you know a lot of it was actually shot in Centennial Park in Sydney?

Thank you for taking the time to sit with Chronicle readers today Prime Minister. Our last question is . . . If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would you do?

(Laughter) [They’re] talking about you, Brett.

Brett Whiteley: I don’t think people realise the activity that a Prime Minister gets up to, but I’m seeing it now and I’ve seen it before, the activity level of having to be pretty well anywhere at anytime and then fitting in overseas, diplomatic trips.

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